Dixie Darr

In Learning Tools on December 1, 2008 at 10:59 am

Audio Textbooks: Listen and Learn

I didn’t really discover audio books until a couple of years ago. I never considered myself an auditory learner. Then I accidentally ordered a copy of Janet Evanovich’s book, Twelve Sharp, on CD from the library. I listened to it and I was hooked. Now, I always listen to a book on CD when I’m in the car, and I’ve been known to sit in the car long after I’m parked to hear the end of a chapter.

Since I teach learning styles, I am aware that many of my students prefer to learn by hearing. Now, I also realize that audio books are a real time saver for adult students. Adults who attend college are already juggling many responsibilities. They have families, jobs, church, and other activities, and they have to fit studying into already full lives.

Audio books could be a real time saver. Students could “read” their assignments as they do the laundry, mow the lawn, cook dinner, or drive. They could also save money, and textbook publishers could more quickly, easily and inexpensively update CD books. Unfortunately, few textbooks are available on CD. Some students have approached their school’s ADA office for access to audio versions of books for blind students.

Now the University of Phoenix is trying out audio books as an option for students in a few classes. Although these books feature the mechanical voice that reads everything on the page (“illustration here”) instead of the professional actors who record most popular CD books, the students love it and are clamoring for more. Let’s hope the textbook publishers are listening.

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